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CNN's Jake Tapper accuses Chauvin defense of 'misleading,' 'gaslighting' jury ahead of guilty verdict

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CNN anchor Jake Tapper showed his partisanship Tuesday during his network’s coverage leading up to the announcement of the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

“If you talk about the defense and what they did, and the defense did what the defense attorneys do, they try to change the subject … throw as much at the wall and see what sticks,” Tapper said during an exchange with colleague Don Lemon. “All he needed to do, the defense attorney — who by the way misled the jury and was reprimanded by the judge, or at least corrected by the judge for misleading the jury in terms of what was required in terms of cause of death — but all that the defense attorney needed to do is to convince one person, because you need unanimity on the jury.

“My point is there is no hung jury,” Tapper continued. “It’s unanimous within ten hours, you know? So that strategy, if that in fact was the strategy, [of] ‘All I need to do is convince one person with this,’ and yes, defense attorneys gaslight, that’s what they do. That’s their job. This trial is not new in that sense — prosecution in different cases, they gaslight too — but my point is, that didn’t work! It was unanimity! I think we all suspect what the verdict is going to be, we don’t know, but we suspect what it’s going to be because either it’s an easy decision that Chauvin is not guilty or an easy decision that Chauvin is guilty, right?” 

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Tapper was fact-checked by the Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry, who noted that not only was the anchor’s assertion “FALSE” but that the judge “SIDED” with Chauvin defense attorney Eric Nelson.

Moments later, after it was announced that Chauvin was convicted on all three charges of murder and manslaughter, CNN celebrated the verdict. 

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“Justice has been served,” Lemon reacted. “And you can see [from] the reaction from the crowd how America feels, and I’m sure people who are watching all over this country or watching all over the world are on their devices getting messages from people, as I am saying: ‘Thank you, Jesus,’ ‘Thank God,’ ‘Finally, justice on all counts.’

“A police officer, who had been on the job for years … handcuffed and led away. And the next home for him will be prison,” Lemon added. 

“The Situation Room” anchor Wolf Blitzer declared the verdict a “powerful moment in American history.”

Commentator Van Jones kicked off the panel discussion by saying: “One down, many, many more to go.”

Jones praised the young woman who filmed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, as well as other trial witnesses, for “doing the right thing” and called on Congress to take action by banning chokeholds and establishing a national police registry for cops like Chauvin. 

“All we want is for the police to obey the law,” Jones said. “We don’t want them to be below us or beneath us. They should obey the law. That’s what justice looks like.”

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CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates offered a similar emotional response, saying, “At least now I can answer my son’s question when he asks, ‘Mommy, what if that happened to me?’ I can at least show him what justice looked like today.” 

Chauvin was found guilty of second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He faces a maximum sentence of forty years in prison for the second-degree murder charge. 

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